Reviews of my work

Reviews of my work

Reading the Signs (The Cuba Press, 2021)

Paula Green in Poetry Shelf “It is warming to read, this book of dreaming, of signs, of being. I imagine it as a prism in the hand that shifts in the light.”

Nicholas Reid in Reid’s Reader “I enjoyed the clarity of her writing, the precision of her descriptions of nature, the candour about her feelings and above all the way she was able to convey exactly what she believes without mystifying readers…” and in the Listener: “Arcadia cohabits with hard reality.”

The Year of Falling (Mākaro Press, 2015)

Siobhan Harvey review  “Richly peopled and companioned by an absorbing plot, Janis Freegard’s The Year of Falling is a superb first foray into novel writing.”

David Hill review NZ Herald   “… an immediately readable book. The crisp, crackly prose kicks things along. There are nice little leavenings of irony. Freegard controls a substantial cast adroitly, and makes you care about each one of them, even loathsome Randall and bubble-brained Bailey.”

 Interview with Lynn Freeman on ‘Standing Room Only’

Review in NZ Listener by Catherine Robertson “…the pace and assuredness quickly increase, building layers of tension and pleasingly ambiguous characterisations that hold interest to the end.”

Booksellers review by Felicity Murray

Booklovers review by Rebekah Fraser  “There is hope, forgiveness, joy and love. It is a wonderful story, I very much enjoyed reading it. I really hope this book gets widely read and promoted, because it certainly deserves to.”

Guest post on Helen Lowe’s blog

Review by Caitlin Walker in NZ Books and on ‘Hooked on NZ Books’

Review by Emma Bryson on Beattie’s Book Blog

The Glass Rooster (Auckland University Press, 2015)

NZ Books – reviewed by Charlotte Simmonds  “…a strong, mature, vivid collection of poetry with warmth and impact.”

Nikki Pellegrino NZ Herald “Pithy and often humorous, this collection of poems explores spaces, from our homes and cities to deserts and damp places.”

Elizabeth Morton, on Beattie’s Book Blog “This is poetry with ants in its pants. It will take you down roads less travelled, cart you to places on the outskirts of your comfort zone, plunge you subterranean, deliver you to the Sphinx. “

Anna Forsyth, Booksellers’ website  “You can see the author’s love for the variety of species populating this planet…”

The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider (Anomalous Press, 2013)

Paula Green on NZ Poetry Shelf “…The book is a treasure box of sentences; economical, wry, agile. You could easily employ spider-like tropes to talk about the writing: the way it deftly weaves detail to unsettle the everyday. The way the poems spin a fine web that shimmer and shine with the glaze of a storyteller. The way the book as a whole embraces the simplicity and the beauty of a spider’s web.”

Kingdom Animalia: the Escapades of Linnaeus (AUP, 2011)

Emma Neale in the NZ Listener(December 3 -9 2011):

“…Freegard is equal parts jester and scientist…the collection is as much about human follies, infringements, betrayals and tenderness as it is about the habits and habitats of our animal cousins.”

also selected as one of the Listener’s 100 best books of 2011

Sarah Jane Barnett in Landfall:

“There is a lot to enjoy in Kingdom Animalia.  Freegard’s poetry is sharp and funny; she is the poet next door who I immediately like.”

and Joanna Preston in A Fine Line (the NZ Poetry Society magazine):

“At its best, Kingdom Animalia is delicious – often funny, frequently touching, unmistakably modern, and full of swerves and quirks and strange reverses.”

Earlier reviews had this to say:

Paula Green in the NZ Herald (1 November 2011):

“…Freegard has glued the breach between poetry and science with lyricism, inventiveness, research, playfulness and miniature bursts of storytelling. Fascinating.”

Patricia Prime, Takahē 73 (Winter 2011):

“…Freegard’s is a restless poetry, expressing contemporary angst within a context of travel, or analyzing the stopping-places, trying to see clearly, and identifying with the flora and fauna. Yet there is also a need to try and anchor the poems to the modern world.”

Tedi Busch, Nelson Mail (30 July 2011)

The author’s imagination is infinite. In just one piece a witch teaches her to fly like a humming bird while advising a man from Japan about his cup of spaghetti and notes that our minds have minds of their own. Hers certainly does; I think I’ll go and read this all over again.

Hamesh Wyatt, Otago Daily Times (11 June 2011)

“…There is plenty of subversive humour and a little self-indulgence but never a dull moment. …….Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus will get under your skin something fierce. It’s neat to have something brand-new and shiny.”

Slightly Peculiar Love Stories (Rosa Mira Books, 2011)

Maggie Rainey-Smith on Beattie’s Book Blog

“Janis Freegard’s story Mill, I had already read, and envied when she won the Katherine Mansfield short story award in 2001, and if I recall correctly, she wrote this piece in one sitting over one morning which I think is sometimes how the very best short stories seem to happen – as if they arrive fully formed – good to see the story within a collection.” 

Etchings (Ilura Press,Australia, 2011)

Angela Meyer, Cordite Poetry Review

“There are poems of ephemeral love; the tactile “Sunrise”, by Janis Freegard, about a one-night stand or perhaps the beginnings of love “she hands him back the blue checked shirt / he said looked good on her”

AUP New Poets 3 (2008)

Richard Reeve, Landfall 217

“Like prowling lemurs, Janis Freegard’s poems seem ever poised to spring into imagery, irony, comedy or absurdity.”

Cy Matthews, Takahe

“Wellington’s Janis Freegard stands out with the easy musicality of her poems and prose poems, amongst which are moments of quirky brilliance.”

Tim Jones, Books in the Trees

“Janis’s style is mostly unrhetorical and ironic, with a surface lightness concealing varying depths. The things I like most about Janis’s poetry are her precise, apt, and unusual word choices, and her humour.”

Southern Ocean Review

“Janis Freegard’s work deals mainly with spiders; mainly Alice spider and her adventures. You might think these are suitable for children only but they are very adult, and in my opinion, very well written. Most are based around domestic considerations, and memorabilia reconstructed. Some expressed (Animal Tales) – prologue) with a delightful naivety.”

Eat These Sweet Words (1999)

Mark Pirie, JAAM 12

“Some of the highlights of Eat These Sweet Words, however, come from the lesser known writers, for instance the teasing and humorous poem ‘When You’re Not Here’ by Janis Freegard.”

Rain Dog (2001)

City Life, Manchester

the playful genius of Janis Freegard in ‘Thirteen Thoughts about Toasters’ (“xii toasters are ‘smart’ these days but toast’s still thick”) “

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